While divisional opponents like the Giants and Dodgers are looking as good as ever, the Padres have largely opted to stay out of the free agent market this offseason and stick with what they have. What do they have? A team that won just 76 games last year with a payroll roughly one-quarter of the Dodgers’. The new front office is reportedly on the hunt for one more starter; possibly a trade for the Tigers’ Rick Porcello or signing a discounted free agent like Daisuke Matsuzaka. Whether they pull it off remains to be seen but barring any other moves, here is what we can expect from the very young Padres next season.
2012 Team Rankings:
Runs: 23rd Overall
Batting Average: 22nd Overall
ERA: 17th Overall
WHIP: 20th Overall
The 24-year-old Grandal looked pretty solid in his first 60 major league games but will start 2013 off serving a 50-game suspension for testosterone use. When he returns, he has the potential to be a .300 hitter with some solid pop, even at Petco.
Nick Hundley is mediocre on his best day and had few of those last season as he batted a miserable .157 over 204 at-bats. Baker isn’t much better and batted .238 with no other stats to speak of in 193 at-bats.
Alonso came over in the same trade that brought Grandal and Edinson Volquez to the Padres and was ranked the 33rd top prospect in the country. He batted .273 with nine homers and 62 RBI in his first full season in 2012 but personally I don’t see him ever being better than .290, 15-18 HR, 70-80 RBI.
Guzman, who will also play some outfield, put up a .247 average, nine homers, and 48 RBI in 287 at-bats last season but could be a solid RBI guy if given the chance to play every day.
Forsythe was unimpressive in his 315 at-bats last season as he batted .273 with 45 runs. He is a middle-of-the-road second baseman who never really did much in five seasons in the minors after being drafted in the first-round in 2008.
Amarista is a pretty good looking 23-year-old who possesses some solid base stealing ability and his average should improve from .240 in 2012—but he is injury prone and inconsistent. He should get time at both middle infield spots.
Cabrera’s average is rough (.246 in 2012, .240 lifetime) and he strikes out a ton but his speed and defensive prowess will keep him in the daily lineup if he can stay healthy.
Headley really came into his own in 2012 as he batted .286 with 31 homers, 86 RBI, 95 runs, and 17 steals. He could easily be a poor man’s Ryan Braun but it was the first time we’ve seen him hit over 12 homers and drive in over 64 so it’s too early to tell whether he is for real. With the Padres brining in the fences at Petco, it’s possible the switch-hitting Headley could be in for a big year.
Darnell didn’t get a chance to really play last season but he showed some good pop, though inconsistent batting average, over his five seasons in the minors.
Quentin is as injury prone as you can get and played just 86 games in 2012. At the same time, he is one of the best power hitters in the game and had 16 homers in 284 at-bats. That’s down from his usual production a bit, which is to be expected at Petco.
Maybin is never going to hit that top prospect potential we have been waiting for since Detroit but he will bat around .250 with eight homers, 40+ RBI, 65+ runs, and 25+ steals if he stays healthy.
Venable is basically the same player as Maybin with just as many strikeouts. Really, both of these guys would likely be fourth-outfielders anywhere else.
Denofria is a solid fourth-outfielder and with a career .281 BA (.293 in 2012) he may actually be the best hitting outfielder on the team.
The Padres have a ton of young pitchers but have no idea who will make the starting staff. And why should they? All of them were horrible last season.
Volquez went 11-11 with a 4.14 ERA and 1.45 WHIP while walking the most batters in the majors. The high WHIP is what we’ve come to expect and his 4.14 ERA is actually the second-best in his career. Not exactly what you’d call a prototypical ace.
Richard was essentially the one bright spot in the rotation last season as he went 14-14 with a 3.99 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. The WHIP is considerably lower than we have become used to while the high-threes ERA is about what we expect going forward.
Jason Marquis put up a typical Marquis year as he went 8-11 with a 5.22 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. Hopefully he won’t make the staff, for the Padres sake, despite his ridiculous $7.5 million salary.
Eric Stults only started 14 games after coming over from the White Sox and put up a very nice 8-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. This is the first time we have seen the 33-year-old Stults put up numbers like that and I wouldn’t expect a repeat.
Cashner pitched mostly out of the bullpen but got five starts in 2012 and will have a chance to crack the rotation in Spring Training. He put up a 4.27 ERA and 1.32 WHIP but may actually be one of the better starters.
The team likes Tyson Ross but after his 2-11, 6.50 ERA, 1.81 WHIP season it is hard to be optimistic.
The Padres’ bullpen is the lone bright spot of the team, but even so their relievers aren’t as good as the Giants’ or Dodgers’.
Huston Street is a very reliable closer and despite some injury problems in 2012 he had a career year with 23 saves, a 1.85 ERA, and 0.72 WHIP.
Gregerson is a top notch set-up man and fill-in closer who put up a 2.39 ERA and 1.09 WHIP last season. Brach, Thatcher, and Thayer are all solid middle-relievers with mid-three ERAs.
Team Grade: C-
Fearless Prediction: 75-87, 4th in NL West